Dissertation
Dissertation > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Translation

Text Analysis of Four English Versions of the Art of War

Author LiXiaoLi
Tutor HongQingFu
School Suzhou University
Course Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords text analysis cohesion coherence The Art of War
CLC H315.9
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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Text analysis receives great attention from a slew of linguists and enjoys considerable progress in the past decades. Its application in translation studies has helped not only a little. It can be applied to both texts involved in translation: to source texts, it gives insight into what translation problems they may pose; to target texts, it can help assess the effectiveness and acceptability.Among all the linguists, Halliday stands out as originator in the research of text analysis with his proposal of the two major concepts---cohesion and coherence---marking the progress of text analysis.Cohesion is surface relation; it connects together the actual words and expressions that we can see or hear. We can identify five main cohesive devices in English according to Halliday & Hasan’s Cohesion in English: reference, substitution, ellipsis, conjunction and lexical cohesion.Coherence is semantic and logical relations in deep structure. In light of the studies of Zhu Yongsheng, factors influencing coherence can be classified into inward ones and outward ones. Inward ones refer to such linguistic factors as topic, thematic progression and cohesion; outward ones refer to non-linguistic factors, like situational context, cultural context, cognitive ability and shared knowledge of the communicators. This thesis only discusses inward ones.More often than not, due to a lack of feasible tools, traditional translation studies employ qualitative analysis as research means, regardless of quantitative analysis which is more prone to objectivity. This thesis, however, will apply both qualitative and quantitative means to conduct research, in an effort to achieve more objective results, and provide applicable suggestion to later translation practices. In order to do this, software“Antconc”will run through all the analyses, helping to provide reliable data. Based on text analysis in theory and the software“Antconc”in practice, this paper explores four English versions of The Art of War, two by native English translators and two by Chinese, analyzing their similarities and disparities, and trying to catch sparks for reasons of better translations. For concentrated analysis, misinterpretation, as well as omission, is not the focal point, and focuses are laid upon exploring fundamental reasons for a better translation.

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